June 2013

Paul Mendelle QC on the government’s criminal legal aid proposals

June 27, 2013

Yesterday I spoke to Paul Mendelle QC, joint head of chambers at 25 Bedford Row and former chair of the Criminal Bar Association, about the government’s proposals on criminal legal aid. He explained his opposition to price competitive tendering and his thoughts on very high cost cases (VHCCs). He also told me the thinking behind […]

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McNally: If you live in a bubble, you’re not going to persuade people

June 20, 2013

By turns combative and conciliatory, justice minister Lord McNally gave a mercurial performance, defending the government’s criminal legal aid proposals on Tuesday evening in front of an audience of lawyers at a “Legal Aid Question Time” organised by the Bar Council and chaired by Joshua Rozenberg. More than once McNally’s emphasis was on realism: Let’s […]

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Julian Assange: one year older

June 19, 2013

It’s a year since Julian Assange’s extraordinary decision to seek refuge in Ecuador’s London embassy. What should be done about him? The government has three broad options: it can try to de-recognise Ecuador’s embassy or break off diplomatic relations and close it, so that police can enter the embassy building and arrest him; it can […]

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Andy Slaughter MP: this is going to be a long struggle

June 6, 2013

Here’s another speech from Tuesday’s legal aid demonstration – this time from Labour’s shadow justice minister, Andy Slaughter. I think those interested in the debate about legal aid are not only entitled to, but should, closely scrutinise Labour’s plans as well as the government’s. There’ll probably be a Labour or Labour-led government two years from […]

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Geoffrey Robertson QC: there is a hidden agenda

June 4, 2013

Geoffrey Robertson’s was another impressive speech today. He reminded us of the days of the “dock brief” and of what Stephen Sedley has called the “great sleep” of public law in the middle of the 20th century – just before legal aid was created, he reminded us. He ended by attacking the government’s “hidden agenda”: […]

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Michael Fordham QC: the avocado of justice

June 4, 2013

Michael Fordham QC was I think the star of today’s “Saving Justice” demo outside the Ministry of Justice. His speech was both angry and funny – he called the Ministry of Justice “wankers”. And his avocado of justice, odd as it sounds, went down a storm with his audience.

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Dinah Rose QC: a declaration of a lack of interest

June 4, 2013

Here’s Dinah Rose’s speech at the “Save Justice” demonstration in front of the Ministry of Justice this afternoon. She began with a “declaration of a lack of interest” as someone who’s never done criminal legal aid work. I must thank Joshua Rozenberg, who kindly helped with sound.

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Denying defendants a choice of lawyers is wrong

June 4, 2013

Even I’m concerned about Chris Grayling’s proposals for criminal legal aid. When the government announced cuts to civil legal aid, I broadly backed them, in contrast to most lawyers. Now, the government’s proposing some further cuts to civil legal aid as well as major changes to the criminal legal aid system – most dramatically, a […]

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